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Landlord turned off my heat for no reason!

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Hello, I have a question that maybe some of you may know. I live in an older city home that was basically chopped up into different apartments. I share a heating system with an apartment upstairs but it is currently vacant. The landlord pays for the heat but yesterday, he turned it off completly. After I called, he said he was turning off upstaris but I guess he gave them the go-ahead for the whole building. He said he will "reroute" it today and on Monday get it turned back on. This was Tuesday!!
I called PSE&G and they said they cannot turn it back on without the landlord's go-ahead. It's pretty cold here in NJ! It gets below freezing at night and I am worried for me and my dog. :(
As I mentioned here before, I am late with rent a lot and do not want to push too many buttons but does anyone had advice??




Well you are kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place..I have found out the hard way that pushing the landlord can bite you back on the butt. By law he can't retaliate by evicting you for raising a stink about this as it is your lawful right, but it can make your landlord-tenant relationship a bit strained.

I would call him back and politely explain the situation, that it is cold and quickly dropping below freezing that waiting till next monday could be very hazardous to your health. You understand it may be a bit of a hassle on his part, but what would he do if he found himself without heat in this cold? See what he says.

Now, if he just kinda brushes you off you are really left with a few options....bundle up and buy some floor heaters and doggie sweaters (just trying to lighten the mood a bit), or start taking legal action. Check your landlord laws, they will tell you what relief you can get.

I am so sorry you are faced with this situation that you really shouldn't be faced with. I fervently hope that your landlord can be reasonable and see the position he has put you in. Let us know how it turns out.

Sub: #1 posted on Wed, 11/12/2008 - 06:59

goldenbast goldenbast
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Golden is right. But here where I live, they cannot shut off your heat for ANY reason during the winter heating season. I would check into a few things. Find out when their cut off date is for shut off and then if that has passed then explain to them that you are living in the apt. Contact human services in your area and let them know of your situation. Buy a space heater to use. Or contact your landlord to see if he has any that you can use until he gets the heat back on, and also let him know how cold it is getting and that you may have to pay to stay somewhere that does have heat. He cannot do anything against you because of this. Check your landlord/tennant laws. Do some baking in the evening to help warm up the house. I will keep my fingers crossed for you that he turns it on soon and that the water pipes don't freeze because of this, then he and you will have even more problems with this situation.

Sub: #2 posted on Wed, 11/12/2008 - 07:20

puddlejmpr puddlejmpr
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Legally, they cannot do this in NJ after Oct 1 - the temps drop below freezing every night and inside it's like 40 degrees. i paid this month, he has done this to tenants in the past - he cancelled the heat to not have to pay for the empty apartment upstairs but i am suffering! i don't want to burden my relationship with him cause i am late alot but he is lacking in things himself (did not make clear of a roach infestation upstairs when i signed the lease, i came in to a broken fridge, etc.) here are laws for my state:
Heat requirements
If your lease requires the landlord to provide heat, the landlord must give you the amount of heat required by the state codes and the local town or city ordinance. Under the state housing codes, from October 1 to May 1, the landlord must provide enough heat so that the temperature in the apartment is at least 68 degrees from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., the temperature in the apartment must be at least 65 degrees. Cite: N.J.A.C. 5:10-14 et seq. and N.J.A.C. 5:28-1.12(m). Local health codes cover parts of the year not covered by housing codes.

The housing inspector or board of health in your town enforces the heat requirements in the state and local codes. Larger cities have special no-heat hotlines that are set up especially to handle complaints. The inspector can file a complaint in court on your behalf, or you can file your own complaint. The landlord must then appear in court and explain why he or she is not providing heat. The court can impose stiff penalties, including fines or jail sentences.

Sub: #3 posted on Wed, 11/12/2008 - 07:27

bea2ls bea2ls
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Also, all he has to do is call PSE&G and authorize them to turn it back on - but he is worried about re-routing the system (I know he's gonna try to make me start paying for heat because he only paid because it was beyond my control but forget that! my lease says otherwise..)
His main advice was to turn on the oven - i don't even have money for a space heater because i gave him my entire paycheck for rent, i am livid.

Sub: #4 posted on Wed, 11/12/2008 - 07:35

bea2ls bea2ls
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IMHO - I would call the housing inspector and file a complaint...see if you can do it anonymously.

Sub: #5 posted on Wed, 11/12/2008 - 07:51

desperatelyseekingsanity desperatelyseekingsanity

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Thanks - I am going to call him tonight (after all, he calls me all the time when i owe him money!!) and try to work it out.. than i guess i will have to go to the city. it is way, way too cold. i am trying to get a space heater but am mostly worried for my dog :(

Sub: #6 posted on Wed, 11/12/2008 - 08:07

bea2ls bea2ls
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Well, even anonimously the landlord would still be able to figure out who it was. I would call him first and talk to him. Be nice and polite at first and see if he will budge on it, then you might let him know that you know about the law and thats the last thing you want to do but he is leaving you with little choice. You could also mention that he expects his money every month and the heat is very needed for your health and that leaving it off puts your health at very serious risk.

If you go that rout and have to report him, you should make sure you get any copies of that report you can and also send him a letter about the whole thing, certified mail return receipt. You do this to create irrefutable evidence that if you suddenly get an eviction notice or he does something else, that he is doing it in a retaliatory fashion and that is against the law.

Unfortunately you will have to make sure that you are not late on your rent again, or know closely your eviction laws (like for example if you are late on rent they have to give you a 3 day notice and if you pay in that 3 days you can't be evicted for non payment. -- not sure if this law applies to your state or not).

As for trying to charge you for the heat, he can't, it is as simple as that for as long as the lease stands. Now, when the lease expires he can start charging you for heat (unless your state has laws governing this..might behoove you to research that.) But while you are protected by the lease he simply can't do it.

Sub: #7 posted on Wed, 11/12/2008 - 08:59

goldenbast goldenbast
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Go visit your local social services / welfare office. They likely have a booklet that tells all about landlord-tennant laws. Or, you can probablyt find the info online. That's the fastest, cheapest way to see where you stand legally.

Sub: #8 posted on Wed, 11/12/2008 - 09:40

unclewulf unclewulf
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Thanks again so much to everyone! Like I said, I am grateful that he is good about my rent and I try to be a good tenant. I don't want to report him, I guess I was just a little shocked about how he seemed to think this wasn't that big of a deal.

Sub: #9 posted on Wed, 11/12/2008 - 10:24

bea2ls bea2ls
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http://www.lsnjlaw.org/english/placeilive/irentmyhome/tenan tsrights/index.cfm

Quote:
Heat requirements
If your lease requires the landlord to provide heat, the landlord must give you the amount of heat required by the state codes and the local town or city ordinance. Under the state housing codes, from October 1 to May 1, the landlord must provide enough heat so that the temperature in the apartment is at least 68 degrees from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., the temperature in the apartment must be at least 65 degrees. Cite: N.J.A.C. 5:10-14 et seq. and N.J.A.C. 5:28-1.12(m). Local health codes cover parts of the year not covered by housing codes.

The housing inspector or board of health in your town enforces the heat requirements in the state and local codes. Larger cities have special no-heat hotlines that are set up especially to handle complaints. The inspector can file a complaint in court on your behalf, or you can file your own complaint. The landlord must then appear in court and explain why he or she is not providing heat. The court can impose stiff penalties, including fines or jail sentences.

Sub: #10 posted on Wed, 11/12/2008 - 10:30

NASCAR_Devil NASCAR_Devil
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